Autism Advocate

Tom Abinanti is a leader in helping people with special needs. He doesn’t just talk about it. He does it.

He has fought for and passed laws to help people with disabilities. He knows people with different abilities are an underappreciated resource – given a chance, they can help better our community. As the father of a child with autism, he understands the role government must play to help people who can’t always help themselves.

Assemblyman Abinanti is urging the State to reaffirm its commitment to people with special needs: education (sufficient state funding for special education); health care (restore early intervention, require broader insurance company reimbursements); housing and daily living assistance (increased number of and adequate funding for facilities, better staff training); jobs (job training and incentives for hiring); and fair and dignified treatment (appropriate first responder training).

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As a county legislator, Tom developed a special grant program through which Westchester County has annually provided assistance to Music Therapy Programs in Westchester through the Music Conservatory and Heartsong. The program through the Music Conservatory is designed to provide music therapy for children with disabilities in schools throughout Westchester that have a concentration of students who would not otherwise be able to afford these programs.

Tom served on the Committee on Children with Special Needs of the New York State Association of Counties. He has fought against the efforts by various state and county leaders to shift the cost of Early Intervention programs to the real property tax base of school districts.

Tom has worked successfully with a statewide network of parents of children with autism to change New York State laws to help people with autism obtain medical insurance coverage.

Learn More:

Watch Tom Abinanti participate in a group interview about Autism legislation. As part a panel of several autism advocates and parents of children with autism, the discussion focused on insurance issues, caregiver challenges, and many more topics. This show premiered on April 23, 2010 during National Autism Awareness Month.